title: hey! mike hey!

year: 2012 – 2013

location: new york city, new york

duration: six months

supported by: the canada council for the arts at iscp (international studio and curatorial program) brooklyn, new york.

project blog: heymikehey.wordpress.com

hey! mike hey! is a multifaceted conversation with michael r. bloomberg, the 108th mayor of new york city. “mike” (his facebook page and twitter accounts use the shortened form of “mike” as opposed to michael) is a mayor approaching the end of his third term in office, the 10th richest person in the u.s.a. (net worth 27 billion), and, according to his own accounts, an “entrepreneur and philanthropist.”

“mike,” the mayor of new york city, is the primary recipient of this project. however, in addition to letters sent to city hall addressed to mike, other works were sent to third party recipients in a strategy aimed at bursting the private bubble of correspondence. as such, ink on paper texts were made into limited edition prints and mailed to mike, nyc council members and others. as well postcards were made from the ink on paper which were then mailed to mike, nyc council members, new york state senators, lawyers, artists, and others. the postcards were also posted in various “public” locations in manhatten and brooklyn. blog posts, facebook posts, twitter tweets and youtube were also used.

in my correspondence with mike i do not contest the love he holds for new york city, nor do i dismiss the progress and strides he has achieved, of which there are many.

however, i do question the relationship between mike and those who fall on the “other side” of the prosperity divide, i do question the sense of profound entitlement that condones one person to amass great wealth at the expense of others, and i do question the structures of a system whereby one person can be held up as a philanthropist without a basic acknowledgement of the deep lack of equality between all humans,

– cuz mike – no one gets rich alone.


HEY! MIKE publication available at iscp, brooklyn, until january 30, 2015.



7_heymike2  8_heymike3

The HEY! MIKE publication features a commissioned text by the lawyer Mara Verna coupled with images from the hey! mike project. Verna’s text chronicles how the housing policies of New York City, under Michael Bloomberg’s administration, failed the homeless and ultimately led to a 61 percent increase of the homeless population.

The journalistic essay juxtaposed with the hand crafted paintings highlight two strategies of transmitting information. The one employs informative journalism; it speaks from the objective viewpoint of the educated lawyer/journalist. The other references handcrafted art and requires effort and time to decipher; it speaks from the subjective voice of the solitary individual. Both methods of communication bear witness to a socially created hierarchy where some have, while others do not.

The newspaper format continues the mail art strategy employed by the artist throughout the hey! mike project and once again is a give-away destined to reach as many people as possible.

Fall, 2013
4 page publication on newsprint
15 x 11 inches
Author: Mara Verna
Artist: karen elaine spencer
Editor, Design and Layout : Jack Locke
Produced by: karen elaine spencer
with the support of The Canada Council for the Arts


isbn : 978-0-9313384-1-5

New York Stories: Twenty Years of ISCP

November 8th, 2014 – January 30th, 2015

This exhibition, organized on the occasion of ISCP’s 20th anniversary, includes work by 17 ISCP alumni that – in the broadest sense – considers the global city of New York from the perspective of an artist-in-residence.

Artists: Balam Bartolomé, Taysir Batniji, Maura Biava, Christine Coenon, Jacqueline Doyen, Patrick Hamilton, Laura Horelli, Anna Jermolaewa, Anouk Kruithof, Kakyoung Lee, Marklinger + Waerndt, Max Pam, Bundith Phunsombatlert, Karen Elaine Spencer, Axel Topfer, Christoph Weber, and Yamashita + Kobayashi.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP)
1040 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

selected images from the project:

to enlarge double-click on image

plan72   home72   dude72  picture72   livewage72   hug72  newdream72  spills72 peso72  boutu72

ink on bfk rives tan paper (each square containing a letter or blank is one inch by one inch)

postcards mailed


maryebros72 attack72  shellynortz72lisabornsein72  barack72  sheafink72 letitiajames72

postcards posted

32kes201372  23kes2013hey72 17kes2013hey72  18kes2013hey72 16kes2012hey72 15kes2013hey72 26kes2013hey72 27kes2013hey72 30kes2013hey72 25kes2013hey72 14kes2013hey72 11kes2013hey72 33kes2013hey72 08kes2013hey72 09kes2013hey72


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